Soon, the anniversary of Sept. 11 will be upon us, and the memories of those who lost their lives on that fateful day will captivate our attention — but for how long? A fleeting moment is all we usually allot for reflection on Sept. 11 despite the existing ramifications of that day in the history of the United States. If anything, it has left this nation in chaos.
The political arena has been so irrevocably altered that many students are daunted at the idea of even bothering to involve themselves with politics much longer.
Americans were united in the months after 9/11, but shortly after business as usual returned. The decision to declare war in Afghanistan and Iraq was not unanimous, causing people to disagree and be vocal about that decision. Since then, the wars have become costly and a lightning rods for discussion revolving around American foreign policy and the government’s role in general.
The war led in part to a return of partisan politics, which has infected almost every aspect of the United States government.
The political factions that arose after 9/11 to originally encourage thought and discussion have become counterproductive to creating any sort of unison among citizens. Most importantly, they have instead created hostility that permeates Congress in nearly every decision made. Outside of Congress, this hostility even travels to the streets among the public.
If anything, the political arena of the United States has become even more divided, not more unified, after Sept. 11. I vividly remember watching the news and hearing news casters say things like, “This is our time to be unified as one nation, under God,” and most of us nodded our heads in agreement. But are we still united?
If we take a microscope to the changing nature of politics since 2001, we will notice that some issues have become prominent: a severe recession, ultra-conservative backlash by factions such as the Tea Party, and, most of all, disunity.
The Republicans and Democrats still do not agree over how to resolve the economic crisis and, as a result, our economy is still suffering while partisanship continues to lead to inaction.
Additionally, the Tea Party used the events of Sept. 11 as an excuse to create an ultra-right winged faction rearing its head against immigrants and minorities. Above all, members are proponents of a strong military presence in America but without cuts in the defense spending.
People told many jokes about the worker at the 7-Eleven and how he or she could potentially be a terrorist. Racial profiling ran amok from government agencies, such as TSA, to just regular people walking on the street giving anxious and fearful looks to Middle Easterners.
It’s easy to say such a catastrophic event spurred conversation and expression of thought between two diametrically opposed sections of the country, claiming that partisanship led to debate and compromise. Most of all, it’s easy to say we are united. But we shouldn’t allow the desire to be a cohesive country glaze our eyes over in seeing the true realities of Sept. 11.
The scars are obviously prevalent, and it is sound to say that the conversation that stemmed from that day wasn’t necessarily healthy.
Mellissa Linton is a sophomore majoring in English. Her counterpoint runs Fridays.